A state agency faces questions today from lawmakers concerned about its plan to redirect millions of dollars from a Hurricane Katrina housing program to a project that would expand the port of Gulfport.
If ap-proved by federal officials, Mississippi Development Authority would divert $600 million from a $3.3 billion grant program that helps homeowners flooded in the storm. Port officials say the money would allow them to double the port’s size, create more jobs and ward off competition from neighboring ports.
Legislators’ concerns come amid protests from Gulf Coast advocacy groups and pastors, who say the proposal shortchanges thousands of residents trying to rebuild. MDA, the agency overseeing the grant program at the direction of Gov. Haley Barbour, has offered different explanations for the diversion.